AN: Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season – restful and full of family and love. I’m making it a resolution to blog more this. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully you can all keep me on track! And now to my post:
Let me preface this post by saying 2 things. 1) I am a Disneyland fanatic. If I had time and money I would go every day. I LOVE Disneyland. 2) At best you can say I am a creature of habit. At my worst, some who know me well might go as far as to say I am obsessive compulsive. When it comes to going to Disneyland I am no different. Since the advent of California Adventures, if I get park hopper passes, California Adventures is ALWAYS first. We arrive as early as possible, and then immediately head to Hollywood Tower of Terror and ride it like 3 times in a row – then usually followed by California Screamin’. Then we usually do the Toy Story ride, and sort of meander around the park seeing if there’s anything else we want to do. If we’re in the mood we’ll do that hang glider ride, or something else, but there’s no any real sense of urgency to ride those rides.
Then I head over to Disneyland where the routine is always the same, regardless of whether or not I’ve been to CA Adventures. Pirates is ALWAYS first, followed by Haunted Mansion. Then I make a point to do all the coasters if possible, and Small World. A picture in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is a must as well. Everything else is sort of secondary.
The point of all this is that I almost never vary from this pattern. Almost.
This last visit to Disneyland I broke the mold. Sort of. Of course we got into CA and did TOT 3 times in a row…but then it turned into a foodie visit. It started with my obligatory churro. Can’t NOT have a churro at the DL parks.
We were also there during the Food and Wine Festival –so there were all kinds of places to try beers, wines, and see food related seminars/demos. However I’ve head they cancelled the F&W Fest for ’11 and ’12 because of construction.
Then I stumbled upon a food truck! What? Okay not a real one, but I’ve heard that the Green Truck has a deal with the park and they’d been serving there – woah. How do I get in on that? Someone tell me how to get the BG Truck into DL/CA!! But the point is, I can’t seem to escape the trucks. Even at DL.
Then I discovered some interesting things I did not know were there before. How I missed this stuff, I have NO idea. I was just never paying attention in my OCD euphoria I guess??
First: did you know that Mission Tortillas has a “factory” on site? Yeah – it has working machinery making fresh tortillas RIGHT THERE. You walk through an educational type display of digital dioramas explaining where tortillas come from (duh) and the history of how they’re made. Then you walk into a HUGE room and there are the machines, just making tortillas! It’s actually quite cool. And of course they hand out samples.
Since we had gone on D’s birthday we got a whole pack! There’s also a demo kitchen area where a woman is making example stuff you could make with Mission Tortillas. They also have free recipe cards you can pick up with Mission tortillas as an ingredient. Cool thing here: Cocina Cucamonga – right behind the factory – uses these fresh tortillas for their menu items.
Then right next to that is a tour of the Boudin Bakery!! Again, basically just a walkthrough, but they have this room where you watch a video first (with Rosie O’Donnel and Colin Mochrie), and then you walk through with more video explaining the leavening process, and all the steps afterwards. Oh and there are samples here too. And they’re yummy.
The cool thing about this, is that the Pacific Wharf Café (basically where you exit) uses the loaves for their bread bowls, so you know it’s fresh. Apparently you can also purchase loaves (they even have some shaped like Mickey heads!) at the café or a fruit stand which is nearby? I have not confirmed this information though.
Cool info about Boudin that I pulled off AllEars.net: “The Boudin Bakery in San Francisco has produced sourdough bread for over 150 years. The "mother dough" was developed by French baker Isidore Boudin in 1849. The bacteria found in the mother dough is unique to San Francisco and has the scientific designation lactobacillus sanfrancisco.”
We decided that this would be a good opportunity to eat more of that delicious bread so we had lunch at Pacific Wharf.
We had the phenomenal Monterey Clam Chowder – From the menu: "Creamy, rich and chock full of clams, this chowder features diced potatoes, celery, onion and peppers." This was soooooo good!!!
And we also had the delicious Santa Rosa Corn Chowder – "Plump corn kernels simmered with potatoes and roasted red bell peppers in a zesty chili bisque, then topped with chives and diced ham."
Moving on to Disney Land we continued to gorge ourselves. Outside of the Tiki Room we had Dole Whip floats. If you’ve never had Dole Whip, please please please have one when you go to DL next. There are VERY few places outside Hawaii that serve Dole Whip, and the stand outside the Tiki Room is one of them. It’s cold, creamy (although it has no dairy I think), pineappley, whipped goodness. My understanding is that it is lactose free (which is excellent for me), cholesterol free, and fat free. And while that may be accurate, it doesn’t describe the wonderfulness that is a Dole Whip. Cold, fruity, refreshing. Plus the float comes with Dole pineapple juice and a fun umbrella!
One of the “nicest” places you can have a meal in DL is at the Blue Bayou. There are a few places in CA but I think in DL it’s the only sit down, full service, metal flatware, type restaurant in the park I think. (Outside of Club 33 – but how many of us have memberships, huh?) It can be found next to the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean, and you can see the diners eating merrily as you float by in the beginning of the ride.
While I have to say that Blue Bayou does put out a good effort, and I remember REALLY liking it as a kid, the last couple times I’ve been somewhat disappointed. The ambiance is pretty cool- it’s basically like sitting in a quiet outdoor restaurant out on the bayou – crickets and all. It’s kind of a romantic setting, which is probably why it’s popular for proposals. (Actually two times ago, we ordered the trio of creme brulee or what not and it comes with this box made out of sugar, which the restaurant created specifically for putting engagement rings in. Otherwise it’s just a nice souvenier…)
Here is a photo from Davelandweb.com so you have an idea of the romantic atmosphere I’m talking about – posted here with Dave’s gracious permission:
However, the food here is rather mediocre. I read on some Disney blogs that this is a relatively new development, so I’m wondering if they had a chef change? But the menu isn’t all that innovative – I think they’ve been serving the same recipes for a long time. Really there isn’t any excuse…is there?
Either way, D and I both had the Gumbo as a starter which was probably the best part of the meal – but there wasn’t enough of it!
I had the Bayou Surf & Turf - From their menu: "A succulent, sweet petite lobster tail from the Pacific Northwest, paired with an expertly broiled filet mignon, sauce bearnaise. With Blue Bayou potatoes and seasonal vegetables" – nothing notable. Steak was OK. Lobster was overcooked.
D had the Cajun-Spiced Salmon " Blackened, with citrus crawfish beurre blanc. With Blue Bayou potatoes and seasonal vegetables." DEFINITELY better than my surf and turf, but also not crazy remarkable.
I’ve heard the Monte Cristo is pretty freaking amazing, but I have yet to try it. Still the lack of culinary inspiration is made up for – at least for me – by the experience. It’s hard to get in so you feel kind of special, and it is kind of romantic and fun. Plus they gave D a free birthday dessert! ☺
Then we stumbled across Pooh Corner – and more specifically Pooh’s Hunny Spot – which had an amazing sweets counter!! Inside we could see a chef working on dipping something in caramel. Everything in the display cases looked so delicious!! Cookies, cupcakes, pretzels, rice krispies, chocolate covered strawberries, fudge, smores, OH MY!
Of course we couldn’t resist so we bought a couple of marshmallow “tails.” We got a Cheshire Cat tail, and a Tigger (T-I-Double Guh-ER) tail – and thoroughly enjoyed both. A nice lady saw us trying to take pictures of each other eating them and offered to take one of us together because she thought we were funny!
So as you can see there are so many food stuffs to eat and discover in the Disney parks. I’m not saying any of it is necessarily good for you, but there’s more culinary goodness than your average theme park. I gotta say, the F&B guys at Disney know what they’re doing. I can’t wait for my next food centric visit to the parks!!
And to conclude, some gratuitous pictures of baby ducks that we saw by Sleeping Beauty Castle:
For more Disneyland Food Fun:
Los Angeles Foodie: http://www.la-foodie.com/blog-posts/top-ten-disneyland-foods/
Club 33 (on my bucket list – would kill to go at least once –and WITH a member so I could ride the Lilly Belle!!): http://www.disneylandclub33.com/